"The Triumph of the Human Spirit, from Auschwitz to Forgiveness" hosting Eva Kor, Holocaust and Mengele Twin Experiment Survivor

03/31/2014 01:12 PM

Holocaust and Mengele Twin Experiment survivor Eva Mozes Kor spread the always important message of forgiveness at her two appearances in Baton Rouge.eva1

LSU Life Course and Aging Center presented “The Triumph of the Human Spirit, from Auschwitz to Forgiveness,” an evening Kor on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 7 p.m. at the Pennington Biomedical Center. 

The room was packed to the point of standing room with overflow into the halls as an audience of almost 500 listened, riveted by her story of forgiveness. 

Kor's talk was also live-streamed on the LSU YouTube channel, receiving more than 200 views. 

Kor, the 80-year-old Holocaust survivor, spoke of her childhood leading up to time spent at Auschwitz and the nine months spent captive in the concentration camp. 

After losing her mother, father, and other siblings, Kor and her twin sister Miriam were submitted to experimentation by Josef Mengele, a Nazi doctor who used prisoners as human test subjects for unknown medical experiments. Approximately 1,500 sets of twins were abused and most died as a result of these experiments. Eva and Miriam were two of only 200 children found alive by the Soviet Army at the liberation of the camp on January 27, 1945. 

Fifty years after liberation, Kor returned to Auschwitz where she freed herself from her victim status and announced to the world that she forgave the Nazis. Powered by a relentless attitude, Kor emerged from a life filled with trauma as a brilliant example of the power of the human spirit to overcome.

Kor taught audience members life lessons gained from her experience. She told listeners never to give up; if she had given up hope while imprisoned, she never would have survived. Having lost her entire family except her sister, Kor's story of healing in the wake of the unspeakable tragedies displayed her strength of will and was an inspiration to all. 

eva2“Never give up on yourself or your dreams,” Kor said. “Bad economies are the seed of genocide and prejudice is still with us. I have forgiven the Nazis; I have forgiven everybody.”

Kor’s goal is to teach others of power of forgiveness to heal pain, to teach the truth, and to prevent prejudice.

Kor is the Executive Director of Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Surviors Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, which she opened in 1984. CANDLES is the only organization in the world dedicated to the memory of twin victims and survivors of medical experimentation at Auschwitz. Its purpose is to prevent genocide on a global level and create an empowered community of critical thinkers who will illuminate the world with hope, healing, respect, and responsibility.

The following morning Kor made an appearance as the keynote speaker for the LCAC eleventh annual Community Partners Luncheon in the Lod Cook Alumni Center. The luncheon began with juried student poster session presentations, where LSU students in the Schools of Kinesiology, Social Work, Architecture, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Department of Psychology presented their research. 

LCAC Executive Director Katie Cherry then welcomed the audience of more than 75.   

Kinesiology Assistant Professor and Sigma Phi Omega, a national academic honor and professional society in gerontology, Faculty Co-Advisor Arend Van Gemmert presented the Student Poster Award to School of Social Work Antonius Skipper for his poster titled “Balance Confidence: An Assessment of the Shortened ABC-16.”

School of Social Work Associate Professor and LCAC Associate Executive Director Dr. Lilly Allen introduced Kor. Kor told her story of forgiveness then stayed after to sign books and meet with attendees. 

The program was made possible by scholarships from the LSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences, LSU Department of Psychology, LSU College of Human Sciences and Education, LSU School of Social Work, LSU School of Kinesiology, and Amedisys Home Health Services.                          

The LSU Life Course and Aging Center is co-directed by Department of Psychology Dr. Katie Cherry and School of Social Work Dr. Priscilla Allen. 

The LCAC mission is to promote collaborative research activities across many fields including the biological, social, and psychological sciences, develop life course and aging education and curriculum, and collaborate with child and senior service organizations throughout the state. 

LCAC faculty represent six colleges and 14 departments/programs at LSU and are actively engaged in advancing our knowledge of the human life course and aging. 

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Areas of research include the following: 

  • Cognitive Processes and Aging
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Education across the Lifespan
  • Interpersonal Relations across the Lifespan
  • Lifespan Development and Public Policy
  • Physical Processes and Aging
  • Sociological Aspects of Aging 

Visit the LCAC website here